Thorsten Pachur


Thorsten Pachur is professor für Behavioral Research Methods at the TUM School of Management.

Thorsten investigates adaptive cognition, that is, how the psychological mechanisms underlying thinking, reasoning and decision making are shaped by the structure of the environment. A key idea is that successful decision making can arise from the intelligent use of simple strategies—heuristics—that exploit regularities in the environment. Thorsten’s research covers decision making under risk and judgment under uncertainty and he is also interested in the role of intuition and how decision making develops across the lifespan. In his research, Thorsten employs an integrative multi-method approach that includes behavioral experiments, computational modeling, process tracing (e.g., eye tracking), and neuroimaging.

Before joining TUM in April 2022, Thorsten worked as Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Adaptive Rationality located at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin.

In 2017 Thorsten was appointed Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science.

Before working at the Center for Adaptive Rationality Thorsten worked as a research scientist at the University of Basel, where he obtained his habilitation in 2012. He obtained his doctorate degree from the Free University Berlin.

Research topics

  • Decision making under risk and uncertainty
  • Attentional processes during decision making
  • The influence of emotions on decision making
  • Heuristics and bounded rationality
  • Decision making in a social world
  • The development of decision making across the life span
  • Experimental, statistical, and computational methods

Selected publications

Zilker, V., & Pachur, T. (2022). Nonlinear probability weighting can reflect attentional biases in sequential sampling. Psychological Review, 129(5), 949–975

Pachur, T. (2022). Strategy selection in decisions from givens: Deciding at a glance? Cognitive Psychology, 136, Article 101483.

Krefeld-Schwalb, A., Pachur, T., & Scheibehenne, B. (2022). Structural parameter interdependencies in computational models of cognition. Psychological Review, 129(2), 313–339.

Pachur, T., Schulte-Mecklenbeck, M., Murphy, R. O., & Hertwig, R. (2018). Prospect theory reflects selective allocation of attention. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 147, 147–169.

Pachur, T., Suter, R. S., & Hertwig, R. (2017). How the twain can meet: Prospect theory and models of heuristics in risky choice. Cognitive Psychology, 93, 44–73

Pachur, T., Mata, R., & Hertwig, R. (2017). Who dares, who errs? Disentangling cognitive and motivational roots of age differences in decisions under risk. Psychological Science28, 504–518.


See the full list of Thorsten's publications

Teaching at TUM

Empirical Research in Management and Economics is a Master's course that covers the most important aspects of empirical research, including research design, data collection, data analysis, and interpretation.

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Bayesian Data Analysis and Cognitive Modeling is a PhD course that introduces Bayesian statistics as a tool for analysing data and estimating parameters of cognitive models using statistical software.

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Replicability, Robustness, and Reproducibility in Behavioral Research is a Master's course that discusses the history and causes of the replication crisis as well as recent developments and proposals towards more reliable, robust, and transparent sciences.

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Process Tracing is a Master's course that provides knowledge about existing process-tracing methods and their functionality regarding the measumerent of predecisional information search and processing. 

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Judgment and Decision Making is a Master's course that reviews central empirical findings in decision research and the key theoretical approaches to analyze, understand, and evaluate decision making.

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